Synopsis: Hurley bonds with Vincent
Spoilers: The End
Word count: 650
Notes: Warning, character death. Extremely sappy and sad, I'm afraid. *sniffles* But a little bit happy too.
Hurley had never been much of a dog person
But after they buried Jack, Vincent never left Hurley's side. That night, Vincent curled up beside Hurley and pressed his wet nose into his neck, like he knew that's just what Hurley needed. Hurley wrapped his arms around Vincent and had a good, solid cry for Jack, for Sun and Jin and Sayid and for Charlie and Libby and everyone else who was gone.
Vincent just licked his face. Maybe he just liked that Hurley tasted like salt, but having someone else here, someone who wouldn't say the wrong thing or say anything at all, felt right.
It wasn't until years later, when he noticed that Vincent had trouble getting up in the mornings, that his back legs were getting stiff, that he had the idea.
He took Vincent to the same stream, said the same words Jack had said, and gave Vincent the water to drink. Vincent lapped it all up but it didn't seem to change him at all. Hurley hadn't felt any different at first, either, but after a while he had to admit it hadn't worked. He hadn't wanted to hand over the job to Vincent or anything like that. He just wanted to make sure Vincent would live forever, because if ever a dog deserved to, it was Vincent.
Hurley had had a lot of bad days, but the day he buried Vincent next to Jack was one of the worst. Ben said all the wrong things, but Rose, at least let him cry into her shoulder the way Vincent had let him do over Jack.
The island was lonely anyway, but without Vincent around, it was far too quiet. Hurley didn't leave the island that often, he really didn't think he ought to, but he wanted to pick out Vincent's replacement himself.
There was no question it had to be another yellow Lab, but he didn't expect to bring back two of them. He couldn't decide between a boy and a girl, so he took them both.
He felt kinda like Noah, bringing back the dogs on the boat, even though it was only two of one kind of animal. The whole way back, while the dogs wrestled each other and explored every nook of the ship (and managed to poop in just about every corner -- he'd deal with training when they got back to the island), he tried to figure out what to name them. They were brother and sister, so he figured he should name them Jack and Claire.
But then, he thought, Claire's still out there, somewhere and he could see her if he wanted to. So he named the dogs Jack and Libby. Rose just nodded when he told her the names and said, "Yeah, he's kinda bossy, like Jack, isn't he?" as Jack, the dog, barked at Bernard to throw a ratty tennis ball. "And Libby's just a sweetheart," Rose beamed as the female dog enthusiastically licked her face.
Hurley felt like he hadn't smiled in a long time, but he couldn't help it now, with Rose trying to get away from Libby's doggie kisses and Jack tugging at Bernard's pants leg.
Later that night, the dogs were snoozing with Jack's head on Libby's stomach. Some noise from the jungle -- nothing serious, anymore -- got Jack's attention and he sat up to full attention with a little "woof."
"It's okay, Jack," Hurley said, giving him a pat on the head. "Go back to sleep. I got this."
Jack heaved a little doggie sigh and settled back down. "Good dog," Hurley said, as he laid down next to him. Jack's eyes closed and soon he was sound asleep, like his sister.
The sound of the dogs' breath was even, measured, with the occasional snore or whimper. Jack's paws twitched in his sleep, as he dreamed of hunting rabbits or lizards or whatever things there were to chase on the island.
Hurley drifted off to sleep himself, thinking of the real Jack, and the real Libby, and of Vincent, and how much they'd have loved the pups. He had a feeling that they were all still here, and that he'd see them, one of these days.